April Wrap-Up and May TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

So, I’ve been thinking about starting a vlog for a while, where I’ll talk about books I’m reading, books I’m buying, and books I want to read, as well as book reviews. There’s just something about vlog reviews that I like more than blog reviews. I’m hoping to get started with that soon, but I’m waiting for my new glasses to arrive first.

In the meantime, I’ll just briefly go over the books I have read in the month of April, and then the books I want to read in May. This sort of content will be a vlog post next time around.

In April I read 19 books while also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is a little crazy.

First up, I read The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, a YA retelling of Arabian Nights, which I gave a 5/5 stars. I devoured this book and then quickly passed it onto a friend, who also loved it. And now I have the sequel sitting at home and I’m hoping that it doesn’t disappoint me because I loved Shazi and Khalid.

Then I read Red Rising by Pierce Brown, a sci-fi dystopian book, which I also gave a 5/5. One of my bookish friends told me to read this book, and I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I now have book two waiting for me at home, so I get to look forward to reading that in May.

Next I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, which was a Greek-inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’m sure any other time I would have adored this book, but I read it right on the heels of Red Rising so it didn’t impact me as much, so I only gave it 4/5 stars. So, it was still good but not as good as the previous reads.

After that I read The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, which was pitched as being for fans of Reign and The Selection, and I adored the whole world and the characters and everything. It was great and I didn’t want to put it down. Definitely a 5/5 star read for me.

I’m going to just do the next four books together: Shadow and BoneSiege and StormRuin and Rising, and Six of Crows, all by Leigh Bardugo. All of them received a 5/5 star review from me, though I will say that I liked Six of Crows a lot more than the Grisha trilogy, but they were still all really good. I enjoyed the magic and can I please have a scenario where Nikolai and Kaz meet each other because I think those two would get along.

Likewise, I’ll put the next three books together: Captive PrincePrince’s Gambit, and Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat. I was supposed to set these books aside for my May TBR but I sort of picked up the first one and then couldn’t stop reading. They are absolutely amazing, and I’ll have a lot more to say about them in a future post. Anyway, a stunning trilogy, which definitely earns 5/5 stars.

Next was the books I read for Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon: Borderline by Mishell Baker, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas, Soundless by Richelle Mead, and Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. Borderline was a 5/5 star read for me and the rest were all 4/5 stars. You can read the rest in my Readathon wrap-up post here.

My next book was A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which earned a 4/5 star rating. It was really good and I enjoyed the intrigue of multiple Londons, but the book didn’t blow me away. Still, I do have the next book waiting to be read, and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next for Kell and Lila.

Then I have probably the quickest read on this list: Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons by Tess Fowler and Kurtis J. Wiebe. This collects issues #11-#15 together, and I freaking love the Rat Queens. I don’t recommend this for younger readers though. The Queens are foul mouthed and there is drug use and sex within the series. But this is one of my favorite comic series to read and it continues to earn 5/5 stars.

I finished the month off with Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a YA urban fantasy retelling of Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities. It was a nice way to finish off the month and I did enjoy the setup with Light magic and Dark magic, and what happens when a girl is in the middle of the two worlds.

Okay, now for my May TBR. I’ll make it nice and simple with a picture:

wp-1465226371905.png

Not pictured is A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, because it will be released May 3rd. So yeah, 14 books on that list, plus I have 3 ARCs to read as well. We’ll see how many I get through.

Thanks for reading guys! Let me know in the comments if you read any amazing books in April…or tell me if there are any books you’re excited to read in May.

Meeting Felicia Day

Hey all, Dani here.

I thought about trying to type up this post yesterday but I was worried it would be a chaotic jumble of emotion and fangirl squeeing…plus I didn’t get much sleep the past few days so that won out and now I can type up a more coherent post.

20160426_192344

Meeting Felicia Day was one of the absolute greatest experiences of my life, and I only got to physically see her for about five minutes and talk to her for maybe one. After watching her on so many shows, and watching so many of the programs from Geek & Sundry, and of course reading her memoir, I had formed an idea of what Felicia would be like face-to-face.

Guess what? Reality totally met expectation. Felicia is such a nice person. Before the signing she was on Twitter responding to tweets from people who had purchased a book elsewhere and were wondering about getting it signed, and people who worried that they would be at the end of the line and she would leave before they got up to see her. It was lovely to see how she responded, telling them to just buy any book from the bookstore and then she didn’t mind if they got in line, or telling them that she would stay as late as she needed to in order to sign all of the books.

The store was packed. I kinda wish I had been able to get a picture of how many people were there, but the line wound all through the store and it was amazing to see all the guys, gals, and kids there, waiting to meet Felicia. I saw so many people wearing The Guild shirts, or Flog shirts, or Tabletop shirts, or Felicia’s Embrace Your Weird shirt. It was like being at a Comic Con minus the cosplay.

My friends and I were all in different signing groups: D, E, G…so if we wanted to go together then we had to wait until it was time for group G to ascend the stairs before we could go. So we waited. And waited. A little after two hours later we were on the stairs to the second floor of the store and stepping to the side a bit we caught a glimpse of Felicia at her table signing books.

That’s when I noticed that she was taking time to have brief conversations with each person, and that she was posing for pictures. It was what I had been hoping for the entire time, to be able to get my picture taken with Felicia Day. And being able to see her finally, I admit it, I had a little fangirl panic attack.

I’ve always been pretty alright with people seeing me as a geek or a nerd, and it didn’t bother me too much, but it has only been in the past eight years or so that I have truly embraced my geekery and done what makes me happy: going to conventions, playing board games, D&D, getting together cosplays, etc. And part of that has to do with Felicia Day.

So yes, I had a moment where I thought “holy crap, can I really walk up to her and not turn into a blubbering mess?” I made all of my friends go before me and it was cool to hear them talk to her about Supernatural and going to Supernatural conventions. Then it was my turn and I got to watch her sign my book and then we got a couple pictures together, and she said she liked my shirt. (I was wearing her ‘Embrace Your Weird’ shirt). And then I got to show her that I also had the Critical Role d20 ring, and so we got to talk about how she has to restrain herself from guest appearing on there all the time. That led to me telling her that one of the D&D characters I’ve created is a wizard inspired by her CR character Lyra…and guys, Felicia had a little fangirl moment when I said that. It was like she couldn’t believe that someone would use her socially awkward Lyra as inspiration for their own character. It was kind of cool.

And then like that, it was time for her to sign the next book.

I think I walked down the stairs as if floating down with my head in the clouds. It was as if I had just had some awe-inspiring magical encounter and I was walking through the mist back to reality.

If possible, I am even more of a fan of the lovely Felicia Day now that I’ve met her. I hope I get to go to a convention and see her again, attend panels, photo ops, etc, because she is a wonderful person. I like that when you read her memoir and even in a very brief conversation at a book signing, it just feels like she talks to everyone as if they are a good friend. It’s fabulous.

Okay, so now it’s time that I share my picture of us, right? Yeah, alright, here it is.

20160426_211101

I’m going to re-read her memoir now, since the paperback has a bonus chapter (which details her time on the hardcover book tour) and I’ll probably post a review of it up soon.

Felicia Day Book Signing

Hey all, Dani here again.

Excuse me while I completely geek out for a moment: I AM MEETING FELICIA DAY TODAY!!!

*ahem*

Last year geek goddess extraordinaire Felicia Day announced that she was releasing a book, a memoir called You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost), and she would be going on a book tour. I immediately checked the dates, telling myself that if she came within 4-5 hours of me I would definitely go, even if I had to take a couple days off work to do it.

Unfortunately she skirted around the midwest and the closest she got to me was I believe New York or Canada.

I was rather upset about it.

But then the announcement came for her paperback release and yet another book tour. This time everything went my way…she would be coming to Ohio and I wasted no time in buying my ticket for the event and then requesting the day off of work.

And today is that day.

I’m excited to get the paperback book because there’s a bonus chapter inside, but I’m definitely going to have Felicia sign my hardcover because it’s a first edition. But guys, I am going to meet Felicia Day. I have been following her work and her career for a number of years now and it is such an inspiration to me.

Seeing a female geek/nerd/whatever label you want to slap on us living her dream of being a geek and getting paid to do stuff she loves is wonderful. I mean, I would love to get paid for my writing and for reading books and then talking about them. Yes, I know it means a lot of hard work and determination and a refusal to give up, but I have watched people like Felicia Day manage such a feat, so I’m willing to try.

Reading her memoir was a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed, I cried, and so much of it made me think that she was right there in the room with me, telling me the story of how she came to be who she is today. It was like a nice conversation with a friend. And the fact that here in a few more hours I will be sitting in a bookstore and listening to her talk still feels like a dream to me.

I’ve gone to several comic conventions and had celeb photo ops and autographs and I can mostly keep my inner fangirl restrained (though it came out a little bit with John Barrowman and Nathan Fillion), but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that this time. I was one of the early subscribers to the Geek & Sundry YouTube and I have supported a lot of their charity fundraisers, participated in every International TableTop Day so far, and bought a lot of G&S merch. And G&S would not have started without the vision of Felicia Day. I love all the geeky content being produced for the channel–my favorites being Critical Role and TableTop…and of course, the book clubs (Vaginal Fantasy and the lovely video version of Sword and Laser).

So today is going to be a dream come true. I get to meet someone I respect immensely, someone whose awesome personality and love for geek culture has helped to shine a light on all things geek, and someone who has shown that with a willingness to work hard you can make a living doing the things you love.

I’ve been counting down the days for this event for well over a month now and the next few hours are going to be close to impossible. And I’m still hoping that I’ll be able to get a picture with Felicia, because that would be absolutely amazing. So, hopefully I’ll pop on here tomorrow or Thursday and share some pictures of the book signing.

Have I mentioned that I’m excited yet?

Okay, I should probably try to get back to working on my Camp NaNoWriMo project. There’s only a few days left in the month.

Dewey’s 24 hr Readathon Wrap-Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I just wanted to share my experience as a participant in Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon, which took place April 23-24. I know there was a lot of activity on social media throughout the event and they did bookish giveaways and such, but I didn’t venture into that part of everything. I really just wanted to try and eliminate a few books from my TBR pile.

I started the event at the beginning, which was 8:00 am for me, and I closed my final book at 7:00 am this morning. In the end I completed five books, so I figured I would give a little timeline of my day and very brief reviews on what I read.

DSCN0593

At 8:00 am Saturday, April 23, I started my readathon experience with The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. A friend of mine had recommended the trilogy to me and it sounded interesting so I added it to a recent bookhaul.

I finished my first book at 10:48 am, with only a couple of minutes of distraction. Overall I give The Paper Magician a 4 star rating (our of 5). It was a relatively quick read with an interesting concept and I’m curious about what will happen next, but it was also the shortest book I read at 224 pages, so I also feel like there could have been a bit more development over the course of the novel. I really did like that paper magic is not just origami that comes to life, but also when reading aloud, an illusion of the story can be shown above the book. As someone who gets swept up in imagining and picturing what happens in books, that was really cool.

So, at 10:50 am I began my second book of the day: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas. It is sort-of a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and I usually love fairy-tell reimaginings so I gave it a shot.

I finished reading my second book of the day at 12:42 pm. Overall, I give A Wicked Thing a 4 star rating. The story starts with Aurora being awakened by Prince Rodric’s kiss and goes on from there. Rodric was kind of a weak pushover to me, and his parents were evil and awful. I really enjoyed Tristan, and grew to like Prince Finnegan, so they were probably the saving grace of the story. Aurora was all right as a character but I’m still waiting for her to get a grasp on how her life is now and start to really take charge. Most of the book she just sort of let others tell her what to do. I will probably read the next book though, just to see if there’s more of my boys and to see if Aurora harnesses her power and fights back to save her kingdom.

So here’s where I got a bit distracted for the day. My LARP (live action role playing) group meets on Saturdays at 1:00 pm, and usually only a few of us show up so it ends in a couple hours. I figured that would be a nice little break and change of scenery. Nope, I was wrong. A group of people from another LARP park came up and we actually ended up battling for almost five hours..and then we all decided to go out for dinner.

I made it home around 7:30 pm, having gotten plenty of exercise and quite a bit of sun. Seriously, my face is still a little red. I settled upstairs in my room to get back to my readathon though, and jumped into my third book: Borderline by Mishell Baker.

Unfortunately all the sun, exercise, and then food worked against me and I ended up taking a nap from 8:00 pm-10:00 pm.

At 2:50 am on Sunday, April 24, I managed to finish Borderline, which I gave a 5 star rating and definitely recommend to others. The protagonist/narrator is Millie, who was a film student and director who had both legs amputated after a failed suicide attempt, and then she’s given a second chance to do something with her life by joining the Arcadia Project, which apparently oversees the relations between Earth and Arcadia, the fey realm. The characters and their relationships were so real and delightfully complex. Most every character had some sort of mental health issue and I thought it was all handled so so well. I’m really looking forward to the next book. Plus, that cover is awesome.

After reading Borderline I wanted something that would be a bit lighter, easier, and a quicker read. I’ve been sitting on Soundless by Richelle Mead since it was released last fall so I figured it was time to actually read it. I opened the book at 3:00 am and finished it at 4:50 am.

I love Richelle Mead and usually give her an emphatic 5 star rating, but Soundless was only a 4 star for me. It was good but because it was nothing more than a standalone, and one that is shorter than all other Richelle Mead books, it didn’t quite have the depth of character that I really enjoy. I think that she handled the concept of a village where nobody could hear, and then having protagonist/narrator Fei suddenly gain her hearing was explained rather well. I can’t imagine that was easy to write as someone who has always been able to hear. But other than that it was just all right for me.

Seeing how much time was left and judging how tired I was by this point, I knew I would only be able to get through one other book for the readathon, so I settled on Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I began reading at 4:55 am and finished the book at 7:07 am, feeling very tired and wanting to get some sleep.

It was a good read though, and I gave it 4 stars. The narrative voice was awesome. It was like reading a book of the Wild West, but actually set in basically the Middle East. There were gunslingers and djinni and it was just really cool. The characters were interesting and I really liked Lin. I’m curious to find out what’s going to happen next.

Overall I read 5 books for a total of 1562 pages. I probably could have read another 2-3 books if I had not taken that lengthy LARP break followed by a nap. But it’s okay, because it was still a rather fun day. And I already know of another readathon taking place in a month, but I’ll have more details on that later.

Well, I need to get back to my writing for Camp NaNoWriMo now. I’ll see you all for my regularly scheduled post on Tuesday.

 

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

Hey all, Dani here.

I know…it’s not Tuesday so why am I posting here? Well, I’m going to have a few bonus posts up in the next week, so I hope you like them.

So a random Suggested Post/Page on Facebook introduced me to this wonderful readathon that takes place every April and October. It is a 24 hour celebration of books and reading. Over the course of the day a large number of readers and bloggers will be posting on their blogs and social media accounts about their reading progress.

There are mini-challenges throughout the day and participants can even win prizes.

This event was created by a lovely person going by the name of Dewey. It was created because her husband and son would go participate in a 24 hour Comic Book Day and she would drop them off at the comic store and then return 24 hours later. Inspired by this she decided to sit down on their next Comic Book Day in 2007 and just read. Sadly Dewey passed away in 2008 and the readathon was renamed in 2009 to honor the founder.

Now what makes this readathon wholly unique is that everyone starts the event at the same time. For me in Ohio, the readathon will take place starting on April 23rd, 2016, at 8:00am and will continue until 8:00am on the 24th. Now for someone in say England, the readathon would begin at 1:00pm on April 23rd and continue for 24 hours.

I have decided, with only a couple days to go before this lovely event, that I’m going to participate. My TBR pile has 30 books on it and though I should probably spend the day writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m still going to see how many books I can polish off.

Apparently there are some people who stay up for the whole 24 hours of the readathon…which sounds crazy yet awesome at the same time. I’m going to try and stay up for as much of the event as possible, so we’ll see what happens.

So, this weekend, if this sounds like something interesting, then feel free to check out my Twitter for semi-regular updates, and then I’ll post an overall wrap post here on the blog sometime either Sunday or Monday.

You can find out more information on Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon here.

Holycross Chapter 1

Hey everyone, Dani here.

Okay, so last month I had a post on here about a little writing experiment/challenge I am doing, involving a character named Gideon Holycross. Aside from that fact, most of the other details are being determined by reader vote. So far it has been decided that Gideon is an exorcist (which means I have some research to do on the topic), and he works with his theology professor father, and his step-brother Nicodemus. It was also decided that they would reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota (which again, will require a little research on my part).

The first chapter was posted a couple weeks ago on my Facebook page, and I’ll be sitting down to write chapter two very soon, but I figured I would share my completely unedited rough draft with all of you while I keep working on my Camp NaNoWriMo project for the month. At the end of the chapter I’ve posed a few questions. If you leave your suggestions in the comments then you may find that I use them in the future. It’s kind of like a choose your own adventure book and what happens to the characters depends on you lovely readers.

Chapter One

“It is not a path for the undisciplined. Generations have dedicated themselves to the calling and have spent years of study and trials to hone their talents. Nowadays the students simply lack the focus to truly grasp every concept and put theory into practice. They would rather spend their time glued to their phones, looking at their latest Tweets and likes and all of that nonsense…” A pause led to an angry clearing of the throat. “Gideon, are you even listening to me?”
The younger man looked up from his phone and glanced across the counter at his father before reaching up and dragging his long brown hair back behind his ears. “Yeah, yeah. Study, discipline, focus, drive…blah, blah. I have heard this speech of yours before, Pop.”
“And yet it still has not sunk in.” Doctor John Holycross, professor of theology at the University of Minnesota–more commonly known as the U–adjusted his spectacles and let out a deep sigh. Years of attempting to drill lessons into his son’s mind had proved nearly pointless and yet he refused to give up. He had to be certain that the boy would live up to the family name. It was a miracle that Gideon had even passed the requirements to join the organization considering his behavior.
“I’ve tried to tell you that it doesn’t work that way for me but you’re the one who refuses to pay attention. What matters most is my will and intent, not any use of symbology or holy water or memorization of ancient script.” Gideon slid off the stool behind the counter and picked up his jacket before slipping it on. “Besides, I was actually responding to an e-mail for the business. Most people don’t want to walk into the kooky occult shop to hire an exorcist.”
“It’s an antique store,” a deep voice called from the other side of the room, just moments before a tall yet lanky man with short blond hair walked over. “Seriously, don’t let Ma hear you call it an occult shop. You do not want to piss off a witch, again.”
Gideon held up his hands, palms out in surrender. “Right, wouldn’t want to upset Delilah again so soon. My fingers still spark every time I touch technology.” That incident had been almost a month earlier when Gideon accidentally let a lesser demon run around the store for a minute while he finished watching a funny video on YouTube. “It’s not like it did a lot of damage anyway.”
The blond shook his head and set a box of vials on the counter. “You say that ‘cause you did none of the clean up. It took a lot of scrubbin’ to get that ichor outta the carpet.” He looked over his clothes and brushed a couple cobwebs off the left shoulder of his blue flannel shirt. “So, do we have a job then?”
“We do. Jennifer Gipson over in Tangletown says her sister Chelsea has been acting odd. Normally she would have chalked it up to the change in weather or that time of the month, but apparently Chelsea’s cat has been hissing at her and refusing to enter the same room as her.” Gideon glanced over at his father. “I told her we would be there in a little bit, so can we save the rest of the discipline lecture for later?”
“I have a faculty meeting to attend anyway. Be sure to actually file a report this time. The Council tires of your excuses. If you can’t follow their rules then they will revoke your membership and it’s a lot harder to find work without their support.”
“I’ll make sure the report gets to them in a timely manner,” the blond said as he gathered up a messenger bag filled with a few vials and various other supplies. He slung the bag over his shoulder and pulled out his keys.
“Thank you, Nicodemus,” Doctor Holycross replied. “You’ve been quite helpful to the business.”
He only nodded in response and then stepped around the counter and headed towards the door. “Come on, Gid. We should be going.”
As they stepped out of the shop, Gideon looked at his business partner. “Have you ever noticed that he’s the only one to use your full name? Even your mom calls you Nic. I mean, in this day and age, who wants to be called Nicodemus?”
“You’re one to talk, Gideon. I just think he likes old-fashioned names. We don’t have a common name like John. Besides, you know Pop does it just to ruffle your feathers, right?”
Gideon groaned. “And he succeeds every time. I can’t believe you’re so unphased by it all. I grew up with it and it still bothers me, but you got used to it after a couple months.” His step-brother always seemed to be so level-headed and calm when faced with things that would cause Gideon to grimace, or lash out in some way. Maybe that was why Nic was so good with his abilities.
“I’ve also followed the approved manner of study because it works for me. When we can fully justify it all to the Council then we’ll plead our case and get them to accept your methods as valid. It will simply take time.”
“I might not have that much time,” Gideon answered, his voice soft, unsure.
For the past few months Gideon had been called to a number of hearings with the Council about his not quite by the book exorcisms, and he had been reprimanded and told to conform to their ways. It was similar to the way so many people saw in movies or on television but more complicated, and that method had never been all that effective when he tried. The old rituals took twice as long for him than for anyone else and he was usually lucky to limp away.
The Council just wasn’t willing to accept that he could simply have a stare down with an otherwordly entity and focus on the idea of expelling them and it would happen. There was a bit more to it than he really explained, but none of them were ready to accept what he could do, so they didn’t deserve to know every detail.
Nic unlocked his truck and set his bag down behind the driver’s seat. “Just get in, Gid. We have work to do and then we can figure out how to get the Council off your back. It’ll work out.”
Gideon wanted to grumble about Nic’s optimism, and to point out that of course it would all work out for him. If the Council decided to kick him to the curb then they would just partner Nicodemus with some exorcist who did abide by every single one of their archaic rules and rituals; they wouldn’t want to cross an arcane master anyway. That was the only benefit he had at the current moment, that Nic was supporting him. If that hadn’t been the case he would have been expelled months ago.
As Nic started the ignition and pulled out of the antique shop’s lot to head across town to the area known as Tangletown due to the winding streets, Gideon tried to calm his thoughts and prepare himself in case this was a true case of otherworldy possession. Most of the time they found that it was nothing serious; actually a number of cases were just phantasms or ghosts having a little fun. Even the lesser entities weren’t all that troublesome and were actually incredibly common. Those were what he typically dealt with and the Council didn’t mind his methods for that.
It was the true possessions that caused all the criticisms and chaos. That had happened a few months earlier, but the real issue had come around because the possessed was a prominent businesswoman and supporter of a large number of charities.
“They’re going to kick me out,” Gideon said a few minutes later, trying not to look at his step-brother.
“You don’t know that,” Nic replied, keeping focused on the traffic. “Sometimes they do make strides to modernize. Look, two hundred years ago they would not have allowed a witch or any other arcane practitioner within their ranks, but they realized how useful we can be. The Council is even loosening the ties to the Church as well, accepting a wider variety of candidates into training than ever before. I promise you, we will make them see sense. It is incredibly practical that you don’t need to recite the entire prayer, especially since most of them try to keep you from speaking. Just…relax. I’m not giving up on you and you shouldn’t either.”
How did a person argue against that logic? Nic seemed so sure that he would be able to gather enough evidence to support their methods and get the Council to see reason, but Gideon couldn’t help but feel that he was on his way to the gallows and all that was left was for them to pull the stool from under his feet and let him hang.
Even with the traffic it only took about twenty minutes to reach Jennifer Gipson’s home, which she apparently shared with her sister. Gideon had not really bothered to dig too deeply into the whys and whats and whens of their lives, at least not until he knew this really was a job.
“Are you ready to do this?” Nic asked after parking the truck in the driveway of the ranch style home. He shifted in his seat and reached for his bag, pulling it to the front by the strap. “I can do the preliminary work if you’re not up to it right now.”
Gideon shook his head. “I have to do this. Probably the best way to prove myself to the Council is to keep working and to continue expelling everything I can from this plane.”
Nic smirked and nodded. “Good. Then let’s go.”
The men got out of the truck and walked up to the first door, where Nic let Gideon take the lead. The exorcist was in charge and the wizard was nothing more than backup in case things went poorly. Gideon raised his left hand and knocked on the door three times.
* * *
Okay, so what I need to know now: is this a major possession or more of a false alarm? And more importantly what’s going to happen with Gideon: will the Council expel him, will they make him take a leave of absence for a little while, or will they accept his way of doing things? Let me know here in the comments.

National Library Week

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m working as hard as I can on Project Death: Redemption, the third book in my Project Death series, for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. But I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about a literary celebration going on right now that I think book lovers everywhere should be involved with right now.

Books and literacy are super important to me. As if that statement is not enough, I went to college and earned a B.A. in English Literature then continued on to earn a Master’s in Library and Information Science. Plus, I’m sure you guys have read my posts on my being a bibliophile and a book hoarder. (Okay, I technically prefer the term book dragon; it sounds so much cooler).

Anyway, this week–April 10 thru April 16–is National Library Week, an observance in the United States that is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). It was first sponsored in 1958, and has been celebrated every April since then.

The point of National Library Week is to celebrate what libraries provide to us, and sometimes even more importantly, to celebrate the librarians who are there to promote library use and provide support for a variety of awesome services at the library. This celebration includes all types of libraries: school, public, academic, and specialty libraries (such as law libraries, medical libraries, presidential libraries, etc).

Before I delve any further into actual events being held to honor libraries and librarians, let me first mention a few awesome books I have read that are set in or around libraries, or feature awesome librarians.

wp-1459103444652.jpg

First, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. This is the first book in The Great Library series, which is set in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed and has instead become the dominant power of the world. Seriously, the Great Library controls the flow of knowledge everywhere and restricts what people are allowed to have access to. Owning personal copies of printed books is illegal, so naturally there is a black market for such items. And the printing press was never created, but there are devices quite similar to e-readers that do exist. It is an amazing story, and I am counting down the days until the sequel, Paper and Fire, is released.

Next up is Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston. In this cute modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, main character Addie Preston dreams of being a full-fledged librarian, but then her dream job is taken away by arrogant Blake Hansen. Then Addie learns that there are plans to tear down her library to build a larger facility. Complications spring up, including her attraction to Blake, and it was fun to follow their story to its conclusion. While it is a quick read and mostly light-hearted, it does highlight an issue libraries face today with budgetary and operational costs and restrictions, so I highly recommend it.

Then we have one of my favorite books, Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. It is the first of a four book series that follows Isaac Vainio, who works at a library in Michigan and secretly catalogs books based on their magical potential. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Isaac is a Libriomancer, or a person who can literally reach into a book and pull out an item from it…like Excalibur or the poisoned apple of Snow White. As a book lover I cannot even explain how many times I have wished that I could reach into a book and pull something out, or better just jumped into the book for a quick adventure. Either way this is an amazing series for bibliophiles.

Finally I will mention a non-fiction book: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. This book made me cry, much in the same way that stuff like Marley & Me or Old Yeller will make a person cry. The book really begins when librarian Vicki Myron goes to the book drop of the library in Spencer, Iowa, after the coldest night of the year, and finds a tiny kitten stuffed into the book drop. Vicki nurses the kitten back to health and soon he becomes a fixture at the library, even being given the name Dewey. He was the library cat there for the next nineteen years and it is an extremely touching story.

Obviously there are so many books that feature libraries, librarians, or museums/archives. I can also name some awesome librarians from television shows (the most awesome being Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”) When it comes to books I can also mention how many times Hermione goes to the library in the Harry Potter series, or how about how knowledgeable and studious Sydney Sage is in both the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. And of course, don’t forget Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code.

Books, libraries, and librarians are fountains of knowledge, and it’s only right to take some time to celebrate them. Speaking of that:

NLW-FBcover_0

Libraries across the nation will be putting on programs and holding events to celebrate this year’s theme for National Library Week, which is “Libraries Transform,” so you may want to check with your local libraries to see if anything is going on there. But there are a few celebrations I’ll highlight now.

Yesterday, Monday, April 11, the State of America’s Libraries Report was released, and with that is a list of the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2015. The ALA’s site includes past lists of challenged books, which can really highlight what book’s people seem to think need to be banned from the library. I’ll probably have a lot more to say about the topic of censorship when we get to Banned Books Week in September.

Today, April 12, is National Library Workers Day, to honor the library staff, users, administrators, and Friends of the Library, who make valuable contributions throughout the year. So, really, today is the perfect day to go to your library and tell your librarians how amazing they are.

Finally, tomorrow, April 13 is National Bookmobile Day, which celebrates the contributions of bookmobiles to communities. Bookmobiles are great because it is a wonderful way to reach out and provide library services to people who may not be able to get to a local public library.

If you want to follow along with National Library Week on social media, you can go to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr and find all sorts of awesomeness. Just search for #NLW16 or #LibrariesTransform.

You can also find more information on libraries by going to the ALA Web site, or visiting ilovelibraries.org

Writers Helping Writers

Hey everyone, Dani here.

I have spent the past several days trying to figure out what to write about for this blog post and my creative energy is being focused on writing for Camp NaNoWriMo right now so nothing really was coming to mind.

Then yesterday a writer friend of mine ran into a major problem on the convention circuit, and I want to try and focus some of my energy to help however I can. Plus, I wholeheartedly believe that we writers, artists, and creative types need to help each other. Some people may see other writers as competition, but I prefer to celebrate their successes and I don’t have to be jealous of them when they are doing well.

wp-1459804718176.jpg

When I started this page I mentioned Colorworld Books as being a huge inspiration to me, and Rachel and Brad Kelly have honestly become pretty good friends of mine. In late 2014 Rachel and Brad packed up their lives and settled into an RV with their four children to travel around the US and sell Rachel’s books. And though they have had to find creative ways to budget their lives and to deal with mechanical issues again and again, they somehow always manage to find a way over every speed bump.

Right now they are also trying to finish renovations on their house so they can sell it and get a brand new RV. Rachel is at the house with their youngest daughter and overseeing the work while also working on edits for Colorworld book #5, Dreamworld. Meanwhile, Brad took the RV and the other three kids to continue their West Coast Con Tour.

Unfortunately their RV died yesterday, and apparently the costs to repair it would be more expensive than what they paid for the RV to begin with. So they really need help right now. Brad is trying to find a way to get himself to Madison, WI, for Wizard World Comic Con, and then think of the next stops after this weekend as well. Until the house sells they just don’t have the money to replace the RV.

Brad has posted up a GoFundMe, but you can also help them out by buying Colorworld merchandise; they have books, bookmarks, paper prints, metal prints, and all of the merch is awesome…I own a lot of it.

I was commenting on a Colorworld Books Facebook post the other day and was reminded that I’ve actually been a supporter of the books since the beginning of the Colorworld Book Tour, which is a crazy realization for me. When I first discovered Colorworld, it was Halloween weekend at Wizard World Ohio in Columbus, and Rachel had only done a couple conventions at the time. I walked around Artists’ Alley specifically looking for books to buy and it was quite easy to convince me to buy the 3-book bundle, which meant basically pre-ordering book 3, which would be released at the end of the year.

I actually waited until Lumaworld arrived at my house before I read–I mean, devoured–the books. It is an interesting and realistic take on people with what we think of as superpowers and the depth of emotions and character development is outstanding. But the Colorworld brand is ever expanding and evolving and Brad and Rachel released Illustrated versions of the series, with each book being done by a different artist in a different style. They are gorgeous. And they ran a Kickstarter campaign to jumpstart the creation of a Colorworld comic series. There’s even been talk of audiobooks and maybe even movies.

Fast forward to the next year at Wizard World Ohio and I had volunteered to give Rachel a hand at her table, since that weekend Brad was working another Colorworld table down at Cincinnati Comic Expo. It was a great time and I was able to pay for Shadoworld, book 4 of the series. The series gets better and better with each book and I was blown away by the events of Shadoworld. Now I am desperately waiting the arrival of Dreamworld.

wp-1459804589510.jpg

As a huge bibliophile I usually stray away from the whole favorite book or favorite author question, because there are just so many amazing options out there, but since meeting Rachel Kelly and reading Colorworld, it has become my go-to recommendation for everyone I know. I’ve actually bought Colorworld as gifts for several friends. I am most definitely #TeamColorworld for life.

So, please, if you are able to help out Rachel and Brad, I would sincerely appreciate it. Buy the Colorworld books (B&N, AmazonAmazon, Colorworld store), get some of the artwork (Colorworld store), donate to the GoFundMe, or just spread the word to all your book loving friends.

Thanks everyone.